Over the past 10 years, Scotland’s livestock marts and red meat sector has been promoting Scotch Lamb as the meat to eat to celebrate St Andrew’s Day on 30 November. In a bold move to supply free lamb to as many Scottish schools as possible during St Andrew’s week, the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland (IAAS) is launching a ‘Lamb Bank’. The scheme will allow farmers selling any sheep via IAAS marts to donate lambs for the initiative which aims to get as many Scottish school children cooking and eating lamb on and around St Andrew’s Day.
“The funds from any sheep being sold via the marts and donated to the Lamb Bank will be used to supply lamb to Scottish schools during the week of the 30th of November,” says Neil Wilson, Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland Executive Director.
“The idea of donating lambs for schools was started by IAAS in 2020, when Scottish marts donated over 50 lambs to promote the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day campaign,” Mr Wilson adds.
Over the past 10 years there has been a drive from the red meat sector, led by livestock auctioneers, QMS and butchers to make lamb synonymous with St Andrew’s Day, just as turkey is for Christmas.
“For over 1,000 years the Scots have celebrated by feasting and it seems fitting that our modern-day feasts should be celebrating not only our patron saint, but also this iconic Scottish meat,” he says. “The original Lamb for St Andrew’s Day idea came from George Purves and Willie Mitchell as part of the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme.”
Last year, 11,600 home economics pupils from 115 Scottish schools signed up to participate in cooking lamb for St Andrew’s Day, and during the last decade over 1,500 farming families and their friends have organised social events to celebrate and feast on Scotch Lamb.
“Between now and 30 November, farmers selling lambs through Scotland’s marts can opt to donate sheep for the Lamb Bank, all they need to do is to let auctioneers know when they book stock in for sale,” John Thomson of C & D Marts adds. “We’d like to get lamb into at least one school in every town and every rural school in Scotland, but preferably more than that, if the industry is behind us.”
QMS has been a big driver of the Lamb for St Andrew’s Day push by promoting the home cooking of lamb via retailers and the butchery trade – including with a ‘twist’ such as in curry – as well as the serving of lamb in restaurants.
Lesley Cameron, QMS Director of Marketing and Communications, said: “Once again, we are delighted to support the IAAS in advocating for Scotch Lamb to be the St Andrew’s Day dish. Since the initiative started, it’s been fantastic to see so many industry representatives come together and celebrate the taste and nutritional benefits of Scotch Lamb, as well as the product’s sustainability credentials.
“QMS’ activity to complement the work in schools will feature collaborations with chefs and social media influencers, as well as a media partnership which will generate multiple opportunities for people to see Lamb for St Andrew’s Day online and in print.”